The Government has approved a ban on the sale of e-cigarettes to minors after proposals were brought to the Cabinet this morning.

Under the new proposals, the sale of nicotine inhaling products will be prohibited from vending machines, from temporary premises and at places or events for children.

Advertisements for e-cigarettes will also be prohibited on public transport, in cinemas and near schools in an effort to limit children's exposure to commercial messages normalising e-cigarettes.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly: "These measures are designed to protect our children and young people from starting to vape.

"We recognise that nicotine is a highly addictive drug, and we are acting today to make these products less accessible to our young people and to remove the advertising for these products from our children's everyday lives."

The proposals will be incorporated into the Public Health (Tobacco and Nicotine Inhaling Products) Bill, which is being drafted.

The bill will also introduce a licensing system for the retail sale of tobacco and e-cigarettes.

Speaking to RTÉ ahead of this morning's Cabinet meeting, Mr Donnelly said he is very uneasy about the widespread sale of vaping products to children.

There is currently no mandatory age restriction on the sale and marketing of e-cigarettes.

Mr Donnelly said he would like to see the bill through all stages in the first few months of next year.

According to the World Health Organization there are 16,000 different flavours of vapes, such as bubblegum and gummy bears.

There are concerns it is a gateway to smoking with a review by the Health Research Board finding that children who vaped were five times more likely to go on and start smoking.

The Programme for Government commits to prohibiting the sale of e-cigarettes from temporary or moveable premises, at places or events for children and from vending machines.

Minister of State for Public Health Frank Feighan added: "Tobacco smoking continues to kill approximately 4,500 people in our country each year.

"We recognise that nicotine inhaling products are used by some adult smokers to assist them to quit tobacco smoking.

"However, we are clear that these products are of no benefit to our children and young people or to non-smokers and that is why we are taking this action today."

Approval sought over policing reform

Meanwhile, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee sought Cabinet approval for legislation to provide a comprehensive reform of policing.

The Policing, Security and Community Safety Bill establishes new national security and oversight arrangements.

It will put in place a Policing and Community Safety Authority with enhanced inspection capabilities including the power to make unannounced visits to garda stations.

The bill will also expand the remit of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) and overhaul its investigation procedures to resolve complaints quicker.

The commission is set to be renamed the Office of the Police Ombudsman and it will have its own financial vote for the first time.

While a new independent examiner's office will provide oversight of the broader national security system.

Community safety is going to be one of the central elements of the bill, which it said is a shared responsibility across agencies such as social services, local authorities and gardaí.

The bill will create local community safety partnerships where State agencies and local representatives will work together to deliver safer communities.

GSOC said the bill was "a significant step forward in addressing a clearly-defined, and long-signalled, gap in Ireland's policing accountability infrastructure".